Coast KZN

14 Feb 2021

Leguaan rescued from drowning at Zimbali

Sboniso Dlamini (North Coast Courier) Picture: Brett Botsis and Nick Evans with the leguaan they rescued on Monday afternoon.

A leguaan (rock monitor) was rescued from drowning in a pond in Zimbali Coastal Estate on Monday afternoon. Zimbali resident and wildlife forum member, Brett Botsis, and snake expert Nick Evans said the 1.5m lizard was swimming in a pond when its back left leg got sucked into a submerged pipe.

“This pipe has a strong suction force. This probably happened on Sunday afternoon, as it was only discovered the next morning when the maintenance guy was doing his daily checks. These lizards generally do not move at night,” said Evans.

The leguaan had probably spent the night with its leg stuck in the pipe.

“The pump for this pipe had just about burnt out. Security was trying their best to get the lizard out. They tied ropes around it to pull it out, and more importantly, to keep the head up out of the water. The chances of this semi-aquatic lizard drowning were slim, but you never know.”

Evans got into the water and approached cautiously before grabbing the head. Monitor lizards, especially one this size, can inflict a painful bite. The swollen leg would not budge. Resident Lee-Anne Saunders arrived armed with a syringe and Sunlight liquid and Botsis contributed some Q20 and old-fashioned elbow grease and soon the lizard was free.

Botsis said the lizard weighed 6.6kgs and was taken to Dangerous Creatures at uShaka for treatment.

The leg was not broken but the joint was badly damaged.